Here is my Preseason BlogPoll Draft Ballot. My Top 25 is below, so make sure to tell me what I need to change before I submit the real thing on Sunday. I'll defend my picks after the break!
Building the Dam Ballot - Week 1
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|3||Virginia Tech Hokies||--|
|6||Texas A&M Aggies||--|
|7||Florida St. Seminoles||--|
|9||Boise St. Broncos||--|
|12||South Carolina Gamecocks||--|
|14||Ohio St. Buckeyes||--|
|19||Arizona St. Sun Devils||--|
|20||TCU Horned Frogs||--|
|21||Michigan St. Spartans||--|
|23||N.C. State Wolfpack||--|
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings
I think that Alabama, Oklahoma, and LSU are all consensus top five picks, but I'm going with Virginia Tech at number three and Georgia at the five spot instead of the usual Oregon and Boise State picks. First of all, let's look at Virginia Tech.
Looking at the Hokies' schedule, the only game I can see them losing is on October 1st against Clemson. But even that game is in Blacksburg, so I think they win that too. They will most likely falter somewhere down the line (Maybe September 3rd against Appalachian State?), but when your toughest road game is Georgia Tech, there is a good chance you will run the table and finish the season in the top five.
Georgia is a bit riskier of a pick. As I've stated before here on BTD, I think they will lose their first game against Boise State, but I can't see them losing again after that. They get South Carolina in week two and Mississippi State in week five, but both of those games are in Athens so I've got them winning. Florida will be a tough game, but even that one is in Jacksonville. Overall, there is a great chance that the Bulldogs go 11-1 and finish the regular season in the top five.
Picks 6-9 are pretty vanilla as I've got Texas A&M, Florida State, Oregon, and Boise State, but then I go way off the board with Pittsburgh. I know their schedule is incredibly easy, but at the end of the year the pollsters always put the teams with the best records in the top ten, regardless of their SOS.
The Panthers' schedule is interesting, as they start out wit ha couple of sure wins in Buffalo and Maine. Then it gets tough for the fighting Todd Graham's, as they go at Iowa and host Notre Dame, South Florida, and Utah. I've got them going 3-1 in that stretch with the only loss to the Hawkeyes. However, they could easily go 0-4 in that stretch and fall from the Top 25 for all eternity.
After that I don't see them losing another game though. They do have to go at West Virginia, but with the loss of Noel Devine I don't think the Mountaineers can keep up with the Panthers.
So basically it all comes down to that four-game stretch. If Pitt wins at least three of those games, expect them to be in a BCS bowl come January.
Arkansas, South Carolina, and Wisconsin I think are all solid here, but Ohio State and Texas could be a little high. I've got both the Buckeyes and Longhorns going 10-2 this season, but I could also see each team losing four games each.
Starting with Ohio State, I think the two sure losses will be in the "Tats vs Tutes Bowl" (Miami), and against Nebraska on October 8th. I could also see them falling to Michigan State and Wisconsin, but both of those games are in Columbus.
With Texas, the sure losses are Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Both of those teams are so explosive, I can't see the Horn defense stopping them. I could also see Texas falling to Oklahoma State, but with the game in Austin I think they narrowly escape with a victory. The other game is at Missouri. The Tigers boast a tough home-field advantage along with the best Tight End in the nation, but without a proven Quarterback it will be tough to upset the Longhorns.
The only pick that I am questioning here is having Stanford too low. I have them winning 10 games this year, but I think a lot of them are going to be close, meaning they could go either way. I think the only "sure" loss on their schedule is at USC, but even then I wouldn't be too surprised if the Cardinal won. I think we should keep the Cardinal in the 17-10 range until after week three when they play at Arizona, and then we will know whether to put them in the top ten or in the 20-25 range.
Otherwise, I'm pretty confident in the rest of these picks. Some people will have Nebraska as a top ten team, but I don't see that happening until at least after week two. And Iowa, Arizona State, and TCU are pretty much even with teams 18-25 in my poll.
Michigan State will be good, but not as great as everyone thinks they will be this season. 21 is a good place for them. Next we have a pair of solid ACC teams in Clemson and NC State.
Clemson definitely belongs here, but NC State might be on the outside-looking in when the nationwide BlogPoll comes out. Either way, no one really looks at the bottom few spots. That is, unless you are a Big East, ACC, or Oregon State fan :)
The bottom two spots are reserved for the cheaters, USC and Miami (Florida). USC is defintely in a good spot here, but I don't know if the Hurricanes are a Top 25 team. However, it was either them South Florida, Cincinnati, or Notre Dame, and none of those teams sounded good to me.
So, what do you guys think? Tell me what I need to change and provide a good argument for it and we will change it!